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An honest assessment of WOT?


Jon Fossaway

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Well, I love Wheel of Time. Despite all of the criticism leveled against it, it's definitely worth reading. Books 1-3 are somewhat formulaic, but still quite good. Books 4-7 are the best WoT books in my opinion. And 8-10, well... definitely the weakest, but still readable (EVEN Crossroads..... well, sort of.)

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These are all subjective opinions.

Using the Nakatomi-Berejiklian Objective Goodness Scale the Wheel of Time cycle rates as 23.33 good units, and is therefore better than SOT (-11.6), Malazan (18.1) but vastly worse than The Eye of Argon (9127.3).

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For what it's worth (if indeed anything), John Clute doesn't think the series sucks. Often when Jordan is alluded to it's in negative fashion, but I thought this excerpt of Clute's review of Hamilton's The Dreaming Void is interesting:

But The Dreaming Void is space opera, where plotting and crescendo effects tend to be much more acutely inflected than they tend to be in dynastic fantasies (though Robert Jordan, quite astonishingly, clearly and responsibly plotted every page of his vast epic; and of course George R.R. Martin means every word he says)

Interesting little line. Especially since, like I said, in general it often seems that when a critic or writer refers to Jordan's work, it's usually a negative quip or damning-by-feint-praise type remark. I think it's a credit to Jordan here that Clute went out of his way to praise WoT in an article that didn't have anything to do with Jordan.

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Despite the fact that I have read better series by now, I'll always like WoT. Sure, there was a significant drop in quality after book 6 (or was it 5?). It is still a complex series with tons of characters and subplots and it's amazing to see things happen in say, book 11, that had been foreshadowed in the very first book. It gives you an idea of the dream the author had when he started writing this.

I'll always be a WoT fan. I reserve the right to complain about it but it doesn't mean I will stop loving it. I would urge the OP to give it a try, see for himself if he likes it. I'll also third what Galactus and Wert said. Even the books we were all bitching about seem a lot better when you read the series back to back. It's almost two years since my epic reread and I'm wondering if I should do it again or just read the last couple of them right before September.

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I have tried to read Wheel of Time so many times its not even funny. I found it to be just another in a long series of farmboy/woodcutter finds he is the savior of the world kind of books. The only thing that separates the books is that RJ had a really good media machine.

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I have tried to read Wheel of Time so many times its not even funny. I found it to be just another in a long series of farmboy/woodcutter finds he is the savior of the world kind of books. The only thing that separates the books is that RJ had a really good media machine.

That's one of the cliches usual in fantasy, but if you consider that the series was started in eighties, it was not so unoriginal at the time, probably.

WoT was a very, very good fantasy soap opera for the first six books and then it became tedious. I stopped reading at 10, but some people claim that 11th was OK. I would say that current discussion is pretty much illustrative. Fans are being persuaded that the series will be finished in 12 books, despite the fact you'll have 15 pieces on your bookshelf when it's finished. Only because last three books will have the same ueber-tittle. Ridiculous, if you ask me. I see this as a direct insult to my intelligence (and I do not consider myself Einstein).

My advice is to try reading the first book and if you like the atmosphere, continue. If you grow bored, you can always wait until the series is finished and ask here or on Wotmania: "Who won?"

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My advice is to try reading the first book and if you like the atmosphere, continue.

Or perhaps try his short story in Legends I, New Spring, as a taste-tester. It's probably more representative of the rest of the series than the first few hundred pages of EotW.

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For what it's worth (if indeed anything), John Clute doesn't think the series sucks. Often when Jordan is alluded to it's in negative fashion, but I thought this excerpt of Clute's review of Hamilton's The Dreaming Void is interesting:

Interesting little line. Especially since, like I said, in general it often seems that when a critic or writer refers to Jordan's work, it's usually a negative quip or damning-by-feint-praise type remark. I think it's a credit to Jordan here that Clute went out of his way to praise WoT in an article that didn't have anything to do with Jordan

Clute also gave a good write-up of the series in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. It got quite a long and fairly detailed entry (compared to say Raymond E. Feist's perfecuntory, "He is an acceptable practioner using standard material,"). However, elsewhere Clute has criticised the series, in his own overly-complicated style, not so much for the length but for the overuse of Aes Sedai spanking :stunned:

My advice is to try reading the first book and if you like the atmosphere, continue. If you grow bored, you can always wait until the series is finished and ask here or on Wotmania: "Who won?"

Since Wotmania is closing down in the next two or three months, maybe not ;)

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Very magic based books, or more realistic would you say? I much prefer David Anthony Durham's Acacia, to anything with wizards doing battle with fireballs.

I thought Acacia was pretty bad and a long way from realistic, but that's subjective I suppose :)

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Since Wotmania is closing down in the next two or three months, maybe not ;)

Except in one sense the community will be reorganizing under new management (and URL) a bit before the August/September closing date. I believe the site name will be chosen in the next few weeks and the beta will be available by June. That being said, WoT won't be as much of a focus anymore (not that it had been as such for much of the site since 2000 or so :P)

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However, elsewhere Clute has criticised the series, in his own overly-complicated style, not so much for the length but for the overuse of Aes Sedai spanking :stunned:

Given that IIRC WoT includes more spanking than Kushiel...

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Don't bother with this series. It would work if you could skip the Nynaeve/Elayne/Egwene/Min POVs, but you can't (believe me, I tried) as they take up about 50% of the books and contain some important stuff.

The worst thing is the books 2-5 are quite good and have you thinking it's actually a good series. Then the plot pretty much grinds to a halt. I swear, from memory one of the books covered like a couple of days.

In my opinion, if the books were re-written just from the Rand, Perrin and Mat POVs they'd be pretty damn good.

Of course, that's subjective. Objectively it's 23.33 on the NBOG Scale. Make of that what you will.

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I gotta agree with the above. His portrail of women, and the ridiculous (and repetative) amount of detail just lost me. It all got bogged down in so much pointless drivel somewhere along the line.

Yes I know Nynaeve tugs her braid. I don't need it repeated after every line of dialogue.

Honestly were I you I'd read to book 5, then pretend the world exploded, you won't be missing much.

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I think his world building is the best that I have read. The different cultures seem so vivid, detailed, and realistic. In the later books the plot bogs down, but I still enjoyed reading them (was a bit frustrated).

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I think the problem is that those who came to Jordan when he just started have a bit of a rose-colored view of him (since, well, he WAS awesome compared to what was there) and those coming later having a large amount of Hype Backlash.

The end result is probably that he's not half as good as his fans claim, but not one tenth as horrible as his detractors say :P

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To me the problem is that every take is going to be slightly different what with no one yet being a clone complete with entire nurture sequence of the original.

If you still use others' opinions as an impetus, it seems to me you either need an excuse to read the books or you don't really want to but are afraid you are missing out on something. Either take the leap or step back from the edge. Standing and peering over and worrying semes rather wasted time you could spend reading. Something. Anything.

I do hope the moderators get busy on removing all those horrible threads dealing with WoT and their subjective lying opinions.

Last thing? When it comes to opinion it is all subjective. No one is objective. No matter when they started the series or which book they felt the series did or did not go off course. Asking for an objective opinion is like asking Sarah Palin to make you a veggie burger.

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I think the problem is that those who came to Jordan when he just started have a bit of a rose-colored view of him (since, well, he WAS awesome compared to what was there) and those coming later having a large amount of Hype Backlash.

The end result is probably that he's not half as good as his fans claim, but not one tenth as horrible as his detractors say :P

There's also the "Jilted Readers" who once loved the series but after some book or other, hated it. They hate VERY intensely too.

Overall, your not gonna get level headed opinions with this series.

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All of the above posts are true. Personally I love the books and I'll be waiting outside the bookshop the day 'The gathering Storm' comes out having taken the day off work to read it.

But then again I've been reading the books since I was fourteen and almost feel like I've grown up with the characters.

I'm glad I read the WoT before I read ASoIaF though and not the other way round though. I don't think I would have got the same enjoyment from the series.

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I'll also third what Galactus and Wert said. Even the books we were all bitching about seem a lot better when you read the series back to back.
I'll unthird this, or something like that, by agreeing with Galactus here :
I think the problem is that those who came to Jordan when he just started have a bit of a rose-colored view of him (since, well, he WAS awesome compared to what was there) and those coming later having a large amount of Hype Backlash.

It is not better when you read the serie back to back, unless you have read it or started reading it before it was possible. A new reader nowadays is not in the same context as he could have been when the serie started, and has chances to see it as another run of the mill average fantasy with a few crippling flaws.

I read the five first back to back, and didn't find them to match up with the mixed hype the serie received. I almost stopped after book 3 but after a pause, and reading about how it became different, better maybe in the sequels, I forged ahead and read up to book 5, hoping for improvement, but on the opposite, reading them became more and more annoying, so I dropped it.

Obviously, there are some good things or I wouldn't have endured until book 5, no matter the review, but in the end the bad was too much compared to the good. I still think it is juvenile, that the plot is bad, that the females are bad, that human interactions are bad and that worldbuilding alone doesn't make a book, but it's better than a lot of things still, though it's worse than a lot too.

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